1. A whole new world

My name is Arooj and I am a lawyer. Until now I thought I didn’t have a sporty bone in my body unless shaking my bum while dancing counts. Now I find myself you-tubing how to be faster on a badminton court and doing mini drills in the lobby of my office!

My husband has been playing badminton since the age of 16 or so and understandably he is fast and powerful. When he hits a shuttlecock it flies into another dimension or so it seems. He tried to introduce me to badminton about 2 years ago but I didn’t take to it. Intimidated by the better players and finding the scoring confusing I retreated to my safe activities like Zumba thinking ‘no, I will never understand badminton.’ Whenever he went to play badminton it felt like he chose it over me and I could not understand why he liked it so much.

Then in March something strange happened. 01 March 2017 to be precise. I joined a table tennis club down the road and I loved it so much. My hand eye co-ordination was not a thing of my imagination and before long I was having rallies. Yay me! As I continued to go to the table tennis club my confidence grew (as did my sporty wardrobe!)

One day I decided to give badminton another try. Table tennis had given me balls! My husband plays socially at a ‘friendly’ Friday club so I thought this would be ok and maybe I could decipher these rules that seemed to be in Greek last time. So one fateful Friday morning I texted my sister in law (Neesi) who I knew had wanted to go a while back and threw the idea on to the table. I wanted a buddy of the same ability (no ability) as me and also there is power in numbers! The 2 minutes she took to text back seemed to be the longest 2 minutes ever and I almost changed my mind but then she said yes! So we donned our leggings and oversized t-shirts and off we went.

I told work I was leaving early to play badminton and rushed home, excitement surging through my veins! That evening we picked up a team racket each from the team bag and began warming up as instructed. Everyone else’s shuttlecocks were whizzing back and forth with powerful thwacks while me and Neesi struggled to get them over to each other and to keep them in the air at all. A much bigger space to cover than a table tennis table! My racket was longer than my table tennis paddle and there was so much more space to cover but that feeling when it finally did connect was amazing!

This time felt very different to 2 years ago, I felt determined to understand this game and to hit that darn shuttlecock! Watching my husband speed around a few courts over like the flash just spurred me on further! Also, did I forget to mention? Turns out badminton is seriously fun! By the end of the night my sleek ponytail had turned into a frizzball on my head, my legs felt like jelly and I was sweating buckets but I loved it!

Not everyone felt so friendly here at the beginning even though it is a club for all abilities but the few friendly people who were willing to play with us gave us hope. As the weeks have gone on everyone seems to be really nice and as we have begun hitting the shuttlecock back people even want to play with us! Woop! This has felt like a big win! It is the small things in life!

Now I try to go and play badminton at every opportunity. Every Monday at our local leisure centre with the no strings group, some Wednesdays, at Friday club and at the weekend if possible! To the point that even when the dreaded monthly visitor comes, I’m still found standing on a court ready to pass out but with a huge smile on my face!

Tonight I am going to group coaching for the first time too! Excited! There is so much I want to learn! The only thing I have learnt so far is to serve – more on that later! Whenever I tell my husband about my games and how I hit a ‘shot’ he tells me I can’t call them shots yet. Humph! I want to get so much better so that I can hit real shots – yes without those inverted commas!

Watch out Nadeem (oh yes that’s him by the way – my husband) I’m coming for you!!!



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